When I was in college I decided to try to learn about jazz so I delved into ‘Giant Steps’ by John Coltrane, ‘Straight No Chaser’ by Thelonious Monk and ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis. These three albums are pillars which, for me, contain strong founding songs for a basis of “understanding” jazz. I think the reason people have to try to understand jazz is because people generally don’t like to challenge themselves, they like to be comfortable, they like to know what may be coming next. The work may be hard at first but, trust me, the rewards are great. I carried my love of the blues from highschool on until today, BB King (the first great loss in the music world this year), John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Johnny Copeland, Clarence Gatemouth Brown were my early heroes. The blues are part of the language of jazz but not exclusively. What I enjoy about jazz is that at its best it is not an exclusive club but rather an all encompassing, all embracing, all searching sound. There are elements of classical, blues and at its most aggressive, atonal and dissonant, punk rock. My first Ornette Coleman album was ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’, from track to track, a perfect album. Ornette’s notion of harmolodics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmolodics) is above my current musical understanding as a player but the result, as listener, is infectious. The improvisatory elements of this music are exciting and surprising I suspect not only for the listener but the players as well. As though an ensemble is on a hunt in, around and through harmonies and melodies jumping over, under and with tempos. Ornette may be gone but music will never forget him.
The Philip Lynch Band will be next performing sounds at Silvana in Harlem 300 West 116th Street on Tuesday, June 30th @ 10PM